TotalEnergies prepares for return to Cabo Delgado

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Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of Total. Picture: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters/
Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of Total. Picture: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters/
  • TotalEnergies chief Patrick Pouyanne and Rwandan President Paul Kagame have signed a memorandum of understanding on energy. 
  • The EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell is in Mozambique to review a military training mission in the country. 
  • TotalEnergies is planning its return to Cabo Delgado as Rwanda appeals for funding under the European Peace Facility. 

Patrick Pouyanne, the chairperson and CEO of French firm TotalEnergies, is on a two-nation visit to discuss and cement relations with Rwanda and Mozambique for his group's return to the insurgent hit oil and gas rich Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique.

On Sunday, Pouyanne met Rwandan President Paul Kagame and they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see Rwanda benefit from TotalEnergies' multi-energy strategy in Africa.

"This collaboration agreement illustrates TotalEnergies' commitment to deploying its multi-energy strategy in Africa, particularly in Rwanda, a country with a booming economy," said Pouyanne after the Sunday meeting at Urugwiro Village, the official residence of Kagame.

READ | Ugandan president's son visits Rwanda in sign of warming ties

Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive officer of the Rwanda Development Board, said the MOU would see to it that the country became a regional leader in the energy sector.

"The collaboration with TotalEnergies in the energy sector, particularly the investment they will make in clean energy storage, distribution, partnerships with our private sector companies in Rwanda and beyond, is timely for a country that puts the environment at the heart of its development strategies.

She said: 

Additionally, the skills transfer in critical areas such as renewable energies and energy transition will undoubtedly contribute to the development of local expertise in the energy sector.

Not much has been said about Rwanda and TotalEnergies' business relations, but Rwanda was the first country to send its troops to Cabo Delgado ahead of the SADC Standby Force.

The Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) initially deployed around 1 000 soldiers to protect TotalEnergies R320-billion ($20-billion) liquefied natural gas project in Cabo Delgado.

Pouyanne is also expected in Maputo to meet President Filipe Nyusi to discuss logistics around the firm's return to Cabo Delgado, and what role Rwanda is likely to play, considering that they have been providing security in Palma, a coastal area north of TotalEnergies operations.

Q&A | Behind the insurgency in Mozambique: 5 questions with a peace and justice researcher

Currently, there are 2 000 soldiers deployed by Rwanda, which last year applied for funding under the European Peace Facility. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell is in Mozambique to meet Nyusi about the EU military training mission in Mozambique (EUTM).

While Nyusi has insisted that Rwanda did not ask for anything in return for its deployment of soldiers to fight Islamic extremist insurgents, some reports allege that Rwanda's military does the bidding of France in Africa.

In early 2021, TotalEnergies approached the French government for a military detachment to help push insurgents from its gas and oil project. Instead, Rwanda sent troops.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation

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